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Exercise Bike - 10 Weeks Post-Op

Hello, all! I hope this post finds you well. I had a single level ALIF at L4-L5 on November 24th, so I am approximately 9.5 weeks post-op. On Monday I started riding the recumbent exercise bike at home for 30 minutes daily to start trying to drop some weight. That is the only change I have made and my back pain has slowly started returning, to the point I'm likely reaching for the hydrocodone tonight. How could the bike be causing this issue? I don't want to stop (surgeon and I both know the weight has to come off if I want success in the long run), but obviously I don't want to be in pain again! Is this temporary as I get back into exercise? Any thoughts? Tips? Thanks!


  • Hi there jl, Hopi you are feeling better. You and I have had similar journey, mine was October 23. I'm just now cleared to begin physical therapy. I was okay to walk, but minimally. Now with the guidance and supervision on pt and aqua therapist I'm navigating using this body of mine again. We have stops and starts. Some leg pain we don't know if it is just me over doing or permanent damage. Time will tell. In the meantime we take each session slowly and add on as my body allows. Today I asked to add squares and 20 minute easy cycle. I was able to lift my left leg off the ground ten times before the pain came. Then we slowed and iced.

    I never push when the pain happens. I simply slow down, make absolutely sure I have my core locked and breathing. Usually checking my form allows me to continue exercising..except for my pesky leg. I was getting a little sad about that leg..that old feeling of doubt..poor me, oh gosh, will I walk like a crab my whole life? But I'm seeing that if I talk to my therapists they guide me thru the pain and I'm still moving. I'm still drug free since 12/15. I feel exhausted from the therapy, but slats that I'm still doing it.

    I would recommend you check with Doctor. If he ants you to be exercising, then physical therapy is a godsend. Listen, I have had five back surgeries. I have not learned anything new in therapy this time I didn't know 15 years ago..but it really helps to have the support and guidance to relearn how to use my body. I don't want to recover fm back surgery ever again, so I intend to go to therapy and go slow to be sure. I hope this helps and I'm so excited for you. I hope you have continued success and able to keep moving. Give yourself a break and some rest and lots of ice and heat. You are only about two months post op..I'm in awe of you. But go slow. Trust me!
  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 645
    I used seat like stationary bike in PT at about 5-6months post op, but I was already/still struggling with issues from post surgery. I had bought a bicycle type exercise for at home, having to add extreme amount of padding, but I was getting inflammation from what I believe to be from getting on my knees and back up....because that's when symptoms of sciatica returned, but the bicycle seat does cause discomfort, never could go past 10 minutes.

    I had also collapsed to my knees from fainting a week after my fusion last March, so l'm not sure if that has anything to do with the painful compression in spine I feel when on knees (no pain in knees though), and the constant feeling of walking against a torque of not being able to walk normal. Whatever it is is causing severe inflammation. I had an MRI today, will know more least I hope they'll be able to find something, maybe even scar tissue, don't know.

    2dogs....I miss you, but not happy to hear of your difficulty at this time, I'm so sorry, I know how disappointed you must be. I PM'd you over the holidays, but it may have gotten auto deleted from time gone by.
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  • Thank you both so much for your replies!! I am. Dry anxious to see my surgeon this coming Thursday for my 3 month follow-up. I'm crossing my fingers that we see some fusion happening on the x-rays!! I am happy to report that the initial pain I was experiencing when I began the exercise bike has dissipated! I think (as my mom and close friend suggested) it had a lot to do with finally getting moving after being sedentary for so long! I saw a physical therapist at my 4 week follow-up and she gave me a short list of "exercises" to be doing at home, and I will see her again Thursday before I meet with the surgeon to get a new list. It is my understanding that I will not actually be going to a physical therapy office on a regular basis. While I know the support is wonderful (I was in PT about a year ago to try and alleviate some back pain), I do enjoy doing it on my own at home. I actually feel I get more out of it! I was finally able to ditch the lumbar support brace for good a few days ago, and I really just feel like a human again! There are still aches and pains, but I believe I will never be 100% pain free. At least I'm not crawling around anymore!!!
  • I may have missed the type of bike explanation, but you certainly need PT help for home exercises and don't leave out any exercises you do at home to the PT. Some could make your symptoms worse. I know this well because I was doing things that were detrimental to my improvements. Also a standard stationary bike was causing me lots of lingering pain. Once the PT explained I required a bike with a lower center of gravity and a seat with back support, I used one in the PT gym and so much pain went away. Make sure your therapist knows all home exercises, it made a huge difference for me. I mostly use the PT gym now and if I am doing the slightest wrong movement they tell me immediately.

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